Archives for category: Uncategorized

Been thinking about death lately, maybe because I’m old, but I thought of a Stephen King quote (totally paraphrasing):

“Most people think about dying peacefully in their sleep after a good meal, a good bottle of wine, and a good lay. But few people think about being crushed under a car while crankcase oil slowly drips on their forehead.”

Which got me to thinking about the worst ways to die. I’m morbid that way.

Freezing

Supposedly this isn’t a REAL bad way to go, but still, you’re fuckin’ freezing to death.

Starvation

Just wasting away until your stomach eats itself (not sure that’s what happens but it sounds cool).

Drowning

Aside from immediate suicide, drowning is the only cause of death where you actually choose the moment you die. That’s fuckin’ creepy.

Set on fire

The largest organ in your body set aflame. The pain factor would be off the charts.

Cut in half

Ouch! Especially if it’s from head to toe.

Skinned/flayed

The largest organ in your body slowly stripped away until you bleed out. No thank you.

Falling into lava

“If you drop your keys in molten lava, let ‘em go, man, ‘cuz they’re gone.” – Jack Handey

Eaten by lion

How horrible would this be? Powerful jaws just ripping you apart. At least you’d be a meal for something.

Impaled

I’m’ talkin’ a big ol’ spike up your bottom that pierces your insides. Not very pleasant at all.

Eaten by shark

Like eaten by a lion, only in water and 1000 times more terrifying.

From 1982 to 1986, I attended Northeast Missouri State University in Kirksville, MO (it’s now called Truman State University).

My tuition coverage was fairly balanced; my parents paid for two years, I got a grant one year, and took out a loan for the last year.

At the end of my freshman year, I got kicked out of the dorm (for which my parents were paying) for smoking pot. No biggie, I was wanting to move off-campus anyway.

I knew an apartment would probably cost more than the dorm, and my folks wouldn’t like that – plus, you don’t get the meals bundled into the dorm package.

I decided I needed a job to pay for rent, bills and food. So, like most folks back in the day, I looked in the local newspaper.

Lo and behold: an ad wanting a guitarist for a local band. I called, auditioned, and was hired.

For three years, we played pretty much every Friday and Saturday. There were five members in the band and we usually made $250 a night. My weekly take: $100. Monthly average: $400. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but always cash under the table.

I had a roommate, and our rent was $150, so that was $75. Split utilities were another $25. So I had $300 a month for weed, booze, and food. I moved around a decent amount, but that was the average.

Weed: Liked the good stuff, so about $125 per month. Back then that bought a lot of sharing with friends and long drawn-out stories.

Booze: Would usually pay for it about 12 times a month (we generally got free drinks while playing at bars). Always got the cheapest rotgut and piss beer. Usually bought booze and brought it to a party. I’d say $10 a pop, so around $120 per month.

Food: That’s roughly $65 a month for food, toiletries, all and sundries, etc. Sometimes, if we had a few days off for the month, I only had $5 a week for food. PROTIP: A dozen eggs and a cheap loaf of bread will make several meals.

Any leftover money: Used to bribe local officials.

MORAL OF THE STORY: If you can pay your bills by strictly being an artist, do it. It’s worth the egg sandwiches.

Okay, this is a minor beef, but just so you know:

You should always refer to recorded art (books, albums, movies, etc.) in the present tense.

 

CORRECT: “The Godfather is a good movie.”

Context: It continues to be a good movie and will do so until the end of time.

INCORRECT: “The Godfather was a good movie.”

Context: I used to think it was good, but I don’t anymore.

 

Remember, just because you experienced it in the past doesn’t mean it doesn’t still exist.

“That IS a good movie. That IS a good book. That IS a good song.”

 

Performance art is different. “That concert was great” is expected.

 

That is all. As you were, soldier.

Last week, the Supreme Court established that same-sex marriage is now legal all across the U.S. of A.

As soon as I heard the news, I knew exactly which of my social media friends would shout “YES! About time! Progress!” and which would post right-wing rants against it (I grew up in small Midwestern towns, which explains much of the latter). It’s rather polarizing.

A couple of years ago, Rachel Maddow was on Real Time with Bill Maher. In case you live under a rock, Rachel is gay. Bill asked what her stance is on the issue. She replied, “Well, I’m against marriage.” I totally agree.

As Doug Stanhope pondered, “if marriage didn’t exist, would you invent it?” Think about it – you fall in love, you want to buy a house and live together, you want to have children. Would you say to yourself, “let’s get the government involved; we’ll pay a fee and sign a legally-binding contact, and if we decide to part ways down the road, it’ll cost us a shitload to get out of that contract”? My guess is you wouldn’t come up with that asinine idea.

The only advantages I can see to marriage are minor tax breaks, perhaps getting on your spouse’s better health insurance plan and, if you’re going to have children, they can grow up saying “mommy and daddy (or daddy and daddy or mommy and mommy) are married.” That doesn’t seem like much incentive.

Supposedly there are passages in The Bible that state marriage should be between a man and a woman. I haven’t read The Bible in many years – I find it rather preachy – but I’m pretty sure those passages were written by heterosexual men with some sort of 2,000-year-old agenda.

I’m always happy when a minority gets the same rights as the majority. So I’m all for the right, but really question the end objective.

In conclusion, congrats to the gay community. You’ve worked long and hard for this. But seriously think about marriage before you jump into it. It’s an antiquated concept that, in this day and age, really only benefits wedding planners, reception DJs, and divorce attorneys. I was married for 11 years and honestly would never consider it again. If you really love each other and want to spend your lives together, you don’t need a piece of paper.

I’ve always loved British humor (or maybe I should write, “humour”), and I think the brits have some of the best situation comedies ever to appear on TV. Here are my top ten:

10. The Office (Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, MacKenzie Crook, Lucy Davis)

Spawned the massive U.S. hit show, but like many fans, I prefer the U.K. version. Gervais is great as the abrasive and egotistical boss, David Brent, and the supporting cast is excellent. One of the first mockumentary-style TV shows.

9. Absolutely Fabulous (Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha)

Who’d think two obnoxious drunken middle-aged women could be so damned entertaining? Lots of drinking, drug-taking, bad decisions…and laughs. Saunders really shows off her comedic talents, and Lumley’s Patsy is a self-centered hoot.

8. Father Ted (Dermot Morgan, Ardal O’Hanlon, Frank Kelly, Pauline McLynn)

Great premise: three priests are banished to a remote Scottish island for improper behavior, and have to deal with the eccentric locals and a ditzy housekeeper. Very funny cast. Co-created by Graham Linehan, who also created The IT Crowd.

7. Extras (Ricky Gervais, Ashley Jensen, Stephen Merchant)

Another hilarious Gervais show, with many cameos of stars playing themselves. Follows Andy and Maggie, who eke out a living as movie extras — but Merchant, as Andy’s inept agent, Darren, really makes the show for me.

6. Peep Show (David Mitchell, Robert Webb, Matt King)

The Brits are known for keeping their sitcom seasons short (often 2 – 4), and this is the longest-running one at 8 seasons. Follows two twenty-something London roommates as they cope with life and love; the “gimmick” is that each narrates his thoughts. Very funny, and some great comedic situations.

5. The IT Crowd (Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson, Matt Berry)

Stumbled upon reruns of this on IFC many years ago and was immediately hooked. It’s about the tribulations of an understaffed and underappreciated IT department in a huge London corporation. Matt Berry is especially funny as the clueless and chauvinistic company boss.

4. The Young Ones (Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Nigel Planer, Christopher Ryan, Alexi Sayle)

One of the first “alternative comedy” britcoms, and “weird” doesn’t begin to describe it. Outrageous situations, musical numbers, and even some puppetry. Partake of some cannabis before you watch it and you just might pee your pants.

3. Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Tim McInnerty, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry)

This ran for four seasons, and each follows the misadventures of Edmund Blackadder (Atkinson) through a different era in British history. Wonderful cast and some terrifically funny dialogue. Baldrick (Robinson) as Blackadder’s idiot sidekick is especially humorous.

2. Spaced (Simon Pegg, Jessica Stevenson, Nick Frost, Mark Heap, Julia Deakin, Katy Carmichael)

Precursor to the brilliant films Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End (Edgar Wright directed all the episodes). It’s about two broke Londonites (Pegg and Stevenson) who pretend to be a couple in order to rent an affordable apartment. The cast is superb, but Wright’s direction is what really makes it special.

1. Fawlty Towers (John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth)

To me, Basil Fawlty is easily one of the greatest comedic characters of all time, which catapults this to #1 on my list. Cleese is masterful at both verbal banter and physical comedy. Follows the antics of the owners and staff of a hotel in the fictional town of Torquay. Cleese based the character on a real-life hotel owner he’d encountered, which is both amusing and a little scary.

Honorable mention: Coupling (Jack Davenport, Gina Bellman, Sarah Alexander, Kate Islitt, Ben Miles, Richard Coyle)

Forget Friends, this is the REAL funny three-guys-three-gals sitcom. Watch it if you can, it’s got some great relationship insights.

In the 2009 movie Big Fan, Patton Oswalt plays Paul, a huge New York Giants fan.  Paul has a mundane job and lives in an apartment with his annoyed mother; his creative outlet is calling a local late-night radio sports talk program and enthusiastically going on about the Giants and how they’re going to kick ass in upcoming games.

But there’s another regular caller — Philadelphia Phil (Michael Rapaport).  Phil’s an Eagles fan, and takes great delight in calling the New York-based show just to stir up trouble.  He does nothing but bash the Giants and taunt their fans, which really agitates Paul.

Without giving too much of the movie away: Paul eventually tracks down Phil and confronts him in person.  The scene ends with Phil terrified and Paul, in tears, saying, “why do you have to be so MEAN?”

I guess I’ve never understood the Phil types: those who feel the need to shit all over something they don’t like.  They’ve always been around, but the vast wasteland of the Internet has made them much more noticeable.

YouTube is probably the most obvious site.  Example: I like the female comedy/music duo Garfunkel and Oates (I admit I’m in love with Kate Micucci).  But look at the comments on any of their videos.  So much hate, and going by usernames, mostly from men.  Why so threatened, fellas?

I can understand if you’re passionate about a political cause, or a medical cause, or something that may actually matter in the big scheme of things.  A particular government ruling keeping you down as an individual?  Sure, bash it.  Local authorities kicking in your door for no reason, or polluting your water supply?  Rail away.  Can’t afford the medication you need because the pharmaceutical companies are reaming you?  Have at it.

But entertainment or sports?  Like what you like, gush about it all you want.  But why go out of your way to harshly criticize a movie, TV show, recording artist, sports team, etc. just because it doesn’t meet your particular subjective standards?  You just want negative attention.  I mean, I’m not a Justin Bieber fan, but I wouldn’t go to a fan site and crap on him just to troll.  That’s asinine.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Don’t be a Philadelphia Phil.  You just look bitter, jealous, and like you have way too much misguided-anger time on your hands.

About a month ago, I came home to find a note taped to my apartment door.  The city was coming in two days to inspect my unit to make sure everything was up to code.

I thought, “eh, everything’s cool.  No sweat.”

Two days after the inspection, I came home to another note.  My fire alarm was disconnected (I got tired of it going off every time I cooked something) and the batteries were not in my carbon monoxide detector (annoying beeping).  Both of those are no-nos, so I reconnected and re-batteried.

But the kicker was the dig on my messy pad.  To paraphrase, it was “unkempt and unsanitary, and in our assessment, the entire apartment needs cleaned.  If you can’t clean it yourself, get someone else to clean it.” They were coming back in three weeks to verify compliance.

I knew the place was pretty bad, but I lived for years in the dirtiest frat house in history, so it didn’t seem THAT bad.  I mean, it’s not like I had rats and cockroaches running around.  Still, it was a kick in the pants.

So I vacuumed, mopped, scrubbed, dusted, wiped, polished, straightened up and tossed junk out for – no lie – about 10 hours.  And I live in a not-real-big one-bedroom.  The place was the cleanest it’s been in years (did I mention I REALLY hate cleaning?).

They came for the re-inspection last week.  I was expecting a follow-up note saying “you’re satisfactory” or “Dude, you passed.”  But no note.  No “attaboy.”  Nothing.

Since scrubbing the place down was such an effort for me, here’s the life-affirming note I would have liked to have gotten:

 

Dear Mr. Webel,

Thank you thank you THANK YOU for reconnecting your fire alarm, and putting the batteries back in your carbon monoxide detector.  We feel at great ease knowing the safety of a truly great person such as yourself is secure.  Really, we sleep much better at night now.  Kiss kiss, hug hug.

And OMG is your unit clean. Seriously, it’s cleaner than a sedan that just came out of a Super-Duper-Deluxe Car Wash.  It’s even cleaner than Jerry Seinfeld performing for a group of nuns.  We inspect tons of places, and the sight of your impeccably-cleansed apartment nearly brought us to tears (full disclosure: inspector #32 did weep with joy). How in the world did you do it?  You amaze all of us, you mighty stud.

Keep up the good work, you saint among men.  Please find attached a coupon booklet that will save you approximately $2,000 on cleaning products and booze.  We here at the City love you and wish you a joyful and prosperous life.

 

God Bless (you Adonis),

 

The City (text if you want to go out for a drink)

In my many years in this world, I’ve come to notice something.  Well, I’ve noticed thousands of things, but one in particular.

People seem to go through life in one of three modes:  enjoying, existing, or enduring.

Of course, these modes can fluctuate; in fact, I’d say most people fluctuate.  It’s tough being in one mode all the time.

 

Here’s a breakdown:

ENJOY:  These are the people who grab life by the balls.  They have fun thoughts and do fun things and hang out with fun people.  They get up each morning and say “hell yeah, another glorious day.” They get out there and live it up and love every minute of it.

EXIST: These are the people with a kind of “meh” attitude.  They get up in the morning and go through the motions until it’s time to go to bed and start the process over.  Boredom is a big factor.  Life’s not a complete drag, but it ain’t roses and fireworks either.

ENDURE: These are the people to whom life is a real bummer.  Just being on this planet’s a chore, and they want you to know it.  Reality sucks for some reason, and they mope and complain.  They get up each morning and say “fuck, another day.”  Nothing seems to make them happy.

 

IN CONCLUSION:

You’re only on this planet for a short while, so enjoy life as much as you can.  Really, I think that’s the whole point: you’re born, you die, and in between you should be as happy as you can be.  I rarely endure, sometimes exist, but enjoy as much as possible.  Find pleasure in the little things.

I’m in an ornery mood, so here are some movie spoilers (read at your own risk):

 

SOYLENT GREEN: It’s people.

CITIZEN KANE: Rosebud is a sled.

THE SIXTH SENSE: Bruce Willis is dead people.

SE7EN: Gywneth’s head is in the box.

THE CRYING GAME: The chick is a dude.

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: Verbal Kint is Keyser Soze.

PSYCHO: Norman is also his mother, figuratively.

WILD THINGS: Neve Campbell outwits everybody.

ARLINGTON ROAD: Tim Robbins is a terrorist.

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?: George and Martha’s son isn’t real.

FRIDAY THE 13TH: Mrs. Vorhees is the killer.

THE VILLAGE: It’s set in modern times.

APRIL FOOL’S DAY: All the “killings” are an elaborate joke.

SLEEPAWAY CAMP: The chick is a dude.

THE PRESTIGE: Christian Bale has a twin brother.

FIGHT CLUB: Tyler Durden and the narrator are the same person.

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: Darth Vader is Luke’s father.

SAW: Jigsaw is the “dead” guy on the floor.

PLANET OF THE APES: They’re really on Earth.

TITANIC: Leonardo dies.

SCREAM:  Billy and Stuart are the killers.

THE WICKER MAN:  Sgt. Howie gets sacrificed.

NOW YOU SEE ME:  Mark Ruffalo is the mastermind.

LOVE STORY:  Ali McGraw dies.

OLD YELLER:  The kid shoots the dog.

Turned fifty today.  Some writer types might ramble on, but here’s just a few insights I’ve garnered over a half-century:

(Editor’s note: this does ramble on a bit.  But lucky readers who stick through it to the end will win two tickets to Walley World!)

 

Don’t buy things you don’t need.  And you don’t need most things.  Treat yourself once in awhile, but keep it reasonable, fer chrissake.  Collecting is okay, but don’t be a hoarder.  You’ve seen the TV shows.  Yeesh.

LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES.  The fire’s just as hot the second and third and fourth time you stick your hand in it, idiot.

Wear sunscreen. (Okay, I ripped that off):   http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/chi-schmich-sunscreen-column,0,4054576.column

Some people are mean, spiteful, or just plain cruel.  It’s a fact; deal with it.  They’re insecure, not worth your time, and karma’s a bitch.  Their asses will figuratively and quite possibly literally be kicked.

Ever seen the movie “They Live,” with Rowdy Roddy Piper?  Aliens are sending humans subliminal messages, and if you have special glasses, you can read the messages.  On all the paper money, the message is “This Is Your God.”  Don’t let that message sink in.  It’s just a movie.  A movie with a way-too-long fight scene, I might add.

Follow your heart, but use your head.

Be as creative as you can as often as you can.  There has to be SOME artist in you.  Tap that shit.

You may think you know the opposite sex, but you don’t really know the opposite sex.  That’s the cosmic joke.

Don’t let just one thing define you.  Don’t just be “that guy who’s a superfan of that team” or “that chick who idolizes Johnny Depp” or “the dude who could win any Star Trek trivia contest.”  Have a little depth, man.  You’re more than that.

Don’t drink and drive.  Really, if you’ve had more than a few drinks in couple of hours you shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a vehicle (especially if you’re a tiny wee person).  And DUIs are huge moneymakers for municipalities.  Don’t give in to The Man.

Help others when you can.  You’ll feel good about it.

Don’t be paranoid.  Just be cautiously suspicious.

If you don’t know how to cook, learn at least a few simple recipes.  Mad kitchen skillz are a good thing to possess.

I don’t care if you’re a theist or an atheist; don’t force your agenda on people.  It makes you look desperate.

Eat, drink, and be merry.  And make a joyful noise.  You’ll feel good about it.

Oh yeah: PLAY NICE.

 

OTHER STUFF

I know more about myself than I’ve ever known, and I still amaze myself from time to time.

I know more about people’s desires, weaknesses, talents and fears than I’ve ever known, and people still amaze me from time to time.

Spiritually, I’m very in tune and at peace.

 

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL (Added at the last minute and at great expense)

 

10:30 p.m. on a Saturday

 

When you’re 10:  I’m sleepy, but I fought to stay up this late, so I must persevere.

When you’re 20:  Let the party begin!

When you’re 30:  The kids are asleep.   Wanna bang?

When you’re 40:  Who’s hosting SNL tonight?

When you’re 50:  zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

 

IN CONCLUSION

Hope everyone who read this far is psyched about going to Walley World!  And fellow geezers, look forward to your 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beyond.  It’s only gonna get better.

 

Cheers! *clinks glasses with everybody*